Audit Chamber alarmed by 'misuse' of government funds abroad

The collegium of Russia's Audit Chamber has reviewed the spending of public funds by Russian representatives in foreign countries and has found serious deficiencies, the Chamber's press office announced.

Specifically, it found that the Berlin office of Roszarubezhtsentr (Russian Foreign Center) overspent its cost estimates in 2003 by USD 54,000. It further found that staff of the office used government services for uncompensated personal needs in the amount of euro 35,000 as of January 1, 2004.

It also said two local firms paid widely contrasting amounts-euro 184,000 vs. euro 460,000-for a year's lease of practically identical space. Moreover, the rents were not properly registered, the Chamber said, and brought in nothing for the federal budget, while maintenance of the facilities cost the government USD 437,000.

The collegium is informing the cabinet, the Foreign Ministry and the Bank of Russia about the situation and is advising the Office of General Prosecutor of the situation.

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